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Where baseball and politics intersect
Barack Obama won a second term as President of the United States on Tuesday night, and he might have Oakland A's GM Billy Beane to thank for the victory.
Obama's team took a “moneyball” style approach to the 2012 election, using a team of dedicated statisticians who tirelessly crunched numbers to find any advantage the numbers could show. An article on TIME.com illustrates how Obama's organization threw away tradition and did away with gut instinct. Targeted advertising campaigns centered just as much around popular TV shows like “Sons of Anarchy” as they did the local news. Technology such as facebook was utilized like never before to help fund the campaign.
If the plot sounds familiar, that's because Beane helped revolutionize baseball with a similar approach in Oakland. By ignoring traditional logic and applying math to the equation, he built a perennial contender on a shoe-string budget.
Beane wasn't the first to recognize the advantage of science on baseball, but he became the patron saint of number crunchers. Number crunchers like Nate Silver.
Silver may be best known in the baseball world for developing the PECOTA system for projecting a player's future performance. But he's turned to the political world as well.
During the 2008 presidential election, he correctly predicted 49 states, missing just Indiana, which Obama won by a single point.
This year, he pitched a perfect game, nailing all 49 states called on Tuesday night and predicting that Florida would be close, but giving Obama a slight edge. As of this writing, Obama held a lead of less than 46,000 votes in Florida.
Just because the season's over, doesn't mean baseball takes a break.